In the wake of a crushing defeat last week for the climate alarmism-promoting Australian Labor Party, which imposed the deeply unpopular and expensive “carbon tax” credited by analysts for the conservative coalition’s victory, authorities in Australia are preparing to dismantle and consolidate the myriad global-warming schemes spawned under the previous government. However, while legislation is already being drafted, major hurdles remain before the tax on CO2 can be scrapped, sparking an outcry among businesses, state governments, and especially Australian voters, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new coalition and its pledge to kill the costly economic burden.
According to Australian news reports, the government’s vast anti-carbon “climate” apparatus currently consists of more than 30 programs under seven departments and eight agencies. Under the newly elected center-right coalition, the sprawling machine is set to be reined in significantly, saving taxpayers over $40 million in four years by “collapsing” the various schemes into just three entities run by two departments. The restructuring of the federal climate regime was announced to government employees before the election — widely viewed as a referendum on the carbon tax — and a spokesman for the new coalition confirmed that the plan was still on track.
“What we've said is we will commence the merger as soon as the process of appointing the ministry and swearing in the ministry has been complete,” climate-action spokesman Greg Hunt for the new Liberal-National coalition was quoted as saying in a radio interview. “To be frank, during the course of the pre-election period, when we were allowed to consult with departments, we laid out the fact that there would be a merger. We were express and clear and absolute about that, and we indicated we would like it to begin right from the outset. I imagine that the public servants are preparing to do that. Our agenda was clear and open, and that is an official process we'll go through as soon as possible."
Climate realists say that the entire global-warming behemoth ought to be axed entirely — especially considering recent developments that experts say have thoroughly debunked the United Nations' warming theories and wildly inaccurate computer models. Indeed, numerous experts say the 15-year “pause” in warming may actually be the start of a global cooling period. However, as The New American reported this week after the Australian election, there are a number of obstacles to shutting down the costly climate schemes, including incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s waffling on “climate issues” and resistance to scrapping the carbon tax in the Senate.
Analysts virtually all agree that Abbott and his more liberty-oriented coalition were elected by voters mostly to abolish carbon taxes and restrain the “green” machine, which has contributed to record business failures and soaring costs even for essentials. However, while the carbon tax looks almost certain to be abolished eventually and some of the climate regime will be reined in, the new government is also working on its own global-warming schemes. Perhaps the most important is the so-called “Direct Action” ploy. In a nutshell, the plan calls for squandering vast sums of taxpayer money to buy dubious “emission reductions” from other countries.
Still, even though the costly climate-alarmism schemes will not be entirely abolished, Abbott and his coalition appear determined to scrap the carbon tax at least. The opposition leadership has indicated that it plans to do its best to stop him, but the incoming prime minister pointed out that it could cost them dearly. “It will obviously be an issue” for the Labor Party, he explained, “whether it learns from its mistakes and whether it's prepared to accept that it simply got it wrong when it came to these toxic new taxes.” Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, meanwhile, continued his attacks on Abbott for allegedly failing to live up to “international commitments” on reducing carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, a broad coalition of businesses and state governments have already warned that if the Labor and Green parties delay abolishing the carbon tax until next year, when new senators are seated, it will also cost the economy billions. Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls, for example, said the Senate was "there to protect the rights of the states and the states don't want Labor's carbon tax." In estimates provided to The Australian newspaper, the Energy Supply Association of Australia predicted businesses would pay more than $4 billion for the “carbon price” between 2013 and 2014, with much of the costs passed on to consumers.
Chief Executive Mitch Hooke with the Minerals Council of Australia, meanwhile, said the carbon tax was costing the economy more than AUD$100 million per week, and that the mining tax Abbott’s coalition hopes to repeal had undermined confidence. “This is a deadweight cost that goes to the bottom line of companies that our competitors do not face,” he told the newspaper. "The impact of these unsustainable costs is particularly severe for the coal sector, causing projects to be cut, job losses and carbon leakage.” Other business leaders quoted in the piece agreed, saying it would be “ludicrous” if Australia was forced to suffer under another two years of carbon taxes after voters overwhelmingly rejected it.
Of course, countless bureaucrats and self-styled “experts” whose jobs depend on perpetuating climate alarmism are fighting back against the will of voters. Among other strategies, they continue to parrot debunked claims about carbon dioxide being a “pollutant.” In reality, CO2 is a natural gas exhaled by humans and fundamental to life on Earth. Despite the well-known fact that human emissions of the gas make up just a fraction of one percent of the greenhouse gasses present naturally in the atmosphere, supporters of man-made global-warming theories insist that humanity must, under UN guidance, destroy the economy to reduce emissions and stave off alleged disaster. Whether Australia will comply remains to be seen, but it is looking less likely after the latest election.
While Australian authorities work halfheartedly to rein in the vast “climate” apparatus spawned under Labor Party rule, the entire global-warming-alarmism industry appears to be on the verge of imploding. The most recent data shows, for example, that the globe has not been heating up for more than a decade and a half — completely discrediting the UN’s wild predictions and infamous computer models forecasting accelerated warming. Meanwhile, the Arctic ice sheet is expanding quickly, debunking claims by “scientists” parroted in “news” outlets such as the government-funded BBC about the Arctic being “ice-free” by the summer of 2013. Numerous respected climate experts have even said recently that the Earth may be entering a cooling period amid a reduction in solar activity.
Of course, the largely discredited UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is working frantically to explain away the fact that its predictions were all wrong — and the whole world knows it. A leaked version of the upcoming UN IPCC report highlighted in the media suggests that the global body’s “climate scientists” are looking for any possible explanation except openly admitting total failure. Among the possible excuses offered by the UN’s supposed experts for the lack of warming: “ash from volcanoes,” a “decline in heat from the sun,” or more heat being “absorbed by the deep oceans.” Experts have ridiculed the claims, but scientists who have worked on the UN body told The New American over a period of years that the IPCC is almost exclusively interested in pushing climate hysteria, regardless of what the facts show.
Australia may be moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. In the United States, however, as The New American reported last month, the Obama administration has launched a witch-hunt against “climate deniers” — essentially anyone who examines the facts honestly and rejects the government-funded UN alarmism. Indeed, Obama and his top officials have even brazenly declared that the administration would ignore Congress and move forward with its “climate” agenda regardless. With what climate realists and prominent scientists call the “global-warming scam” looking perilously close to melting down entirely, lawmakers in Congress and around the world should put their foot down now.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at
Australia Votes to Crush Carbon Tax and Big Government